Posts tagged #Hand Made

Foundations of Cedar and Cypress Wood

In the old testament we read in 1 Kings that when the temple was constructed Solomon used Cedar and Cypress wood. That is where our name comes from. We want to be the foundation and the support for others like Cedar and Cypress was for the temple.  Weather that is companies or artisans in Haiti, individual people, missionaries or families. Our goal is to support others though job creation.

Being a support is the core reason we are in Haiti this week. It has been a true transformation for us as we partner along side Sa Voix. We have been able to build relationships that are solid foundations with the girls and are so grateful for the opportunity. We believe the Lord has great things ahead for Sa Voix as they embark on their journey and we are excited to see what unfolds.

The Lord has been good to us indeed. He has shone brightly on this trip and we see His hand of grace everywhere. Thank you for ever one who has come along side us and followed along on this journey. Our week is coming to just about half way, but it is far from over.

Stay safe wherever you might be and remember to love others well.

Meanwhile, back in Haiti...

If you haven't checked in for a while or are new to us, then it might be news to you that we have been planning another trip to Haiti. We started a Fundly campaign to raise funds to cover some of the costs associated (something I am not used to) and came so close to our goal-God is so good!

I am so grateful and honored to know so many amazing people with such generous hearts. Thank you thank you thank you to ever one who donated or shared our post. It means so much!

We are back in Haiti this time to work with and collaborate a little with a newer company called Sa Voix. Sa Voix means Her Voice in French and they are a collective of women working together. A group of women who's spirits are weaving a beautiful tapestry as they are given the chance to have a job and provide for their lives. Currently they are four Haitian women and Jessica, the founder from Chicago. They have a beautiful spirit to their work place and each one has a bright light.

It has been a pleasure to learn about Sa Voix, the goals and dreams of the organization, and the hearts of the girls. I look forward to what will unfold over the next week and what God has in store. As always in Haiti, I am sure I will walk away having learned much more from them than vice versa.

Stay tuned, there is going to be a great foundation laid and I am exited to share it with you.

Working on perfecting some things...

Working on perfecting some things...

Sa Voix-Her Voice or Your Voice

About two weeks ago we returned from an eight day trip to Haiti. Our favorite part about Cedar and Cypress Designs is the partners we get to collaborate with, both in Haiti and here in Minnesota. Our goal is to be relational, sometimes that isn't so easy when you live across the sea.

However, when we get to visit Haiti we get to be intentional with those relationships and our partners. I seem to have an affinity for friendships and hugs. On our recent trip to Haiti, a coffee date with a friend lead to collaboration with a new one (thanks Lexie). We met Jess from Sa-Voix towards the end of our trip, and short of extending our visit, we did our best to work with her as much as possible before we had to leave island life behind once again.

Sa-Voix is also relational and we are encouraged with our new found friendship we were able to cultivate in the short amount of time we were able to spend with them. It is clear that the team at Sa-Voix is a family.

Through the use of art, Sa-Voix is a vehicle to create a safe space for women to explore theirvoice. Sa-Voix is empowering and giving women a voice and a future. The products are Sa-Voix are made by first hand painting the fabric and then sewn into beautiful hand bags and headbands.

"Sa Voix exists to help young women in Haiti find their voice through the arts.


  •       We Foster Creativity
  •       We Cultivate Community
  •       We Equip Holistically
  •       We Speak Tangibly"

We were able to see the Sa Voix workshop and spend some time with Jess and Reinese, one of two Haitian seamstresses. Their space is light and inspiring, it fosters creativity and joy-exactly the kind of space I like to work in. Sa-Voix is in it's infancy, but you can tell they have a bright future ahead of them.

Join me in watching them learn and grow. We are so excited about our new partnership with Sa-Voix and are working to get back down to Haiti to spend some quality time with them very soon in hopes to encourage them in their creativity and designs. We look forward to cultivating and developing that partnership and the relationships with their team.

We are blessed by our many partners in Haiti, if you would like to partner with organizations like Sa-Voix please reach out to us. Whether you buy a product, donate to their cause or have the chance to visit their quaint space some day-how you choose your voice will make a difference. We all have a voice. It is up to you how you use yours.

Valentine's Day and a Weekend Long Show

Well we had a great four day show last weekend. Everything we made at the show and then some is coming with us on our trip to Haiti next week. We are traveling to Haiti for one week to catch up with friends, celebrate some birthdays and buy buy buy our new spring line! Leaving MN in February, it was still very cold, but here's to hoping that when we return March 3rd the ice will have started to go out!

Thank you for everyone who came out to support us in Bloomington at Southtown Center and for 2 Harts Promotion, great work on a successful first show! It is so much fun to talk about why Cedar and Cypress started and what it means. Haiti is a huge part of our hearts and the decision to return to America doesn't seem to get any easier, but Cedar and Cypress allows us to continue our involvement there and that is why we do what we do.


We met the grandmother of a friend who we met while in Haiti and made some new friends with vendors.

Now we are in Florida taking a little break from the cold, soaking in some much needed vitamin D and doing some work on the website!

Stay tuned for lots of exciting posts while we are in Haiti as well as some exciting news from up in Minnesota!!!

Thanks for stopping in, we hope you have some sunshine in your life wherever you are.

My Fortunate Life

I booked a craft show this weekend, it started on Thursday and runs through valentine's day. It can be interesting to talk to and meet so many different people at these shows.
The woman next to me is blind and has been her whole life, yet here she is. She told me she took public transportation this morning. That was a blow when I thought back on not wanting to run out and start the car. I can drive, what a huge blessing. I was here last night when two friend of hers helped her set up. She is a popcorn, fudge and beef jerky distributor-makes her own jewelry-and is bound to her mechanical chair. It sure put my life into perspective. I am so beyond blessed.

Half of my product line is made in Haiti and the other half is made in America. Some people are very interested in Haiti and want to hear my story. My story is this, I am very fortunate and very blessed. God led me to Haiti and it was a beautiful step of faith and I am better for it. He met me right where I was every day for five years. He put people in my life that grew and changed me.

Yesterday was slow, well dead really. It is days like this where I get discouraged with this company of mine. Days like this where I question what or why I am doing. But then God puts that one person in my path. The one person who asks me about Haiti and the people there and my experience and I remember why. Or the one person who is blind, yet out there going after their vision and I remember why. Or the one person who as I tell her my journey, tears come to my eyes and I remember why I do this.

I am so very blessed, I am so fortunate. I am traveling to Florida and then on to Haiti in a week. I can come and go in and out of this country and that one as I please. I always have food and electricity. I have my sight, my hearing, all of my limbs and I don't want this to come off wrong, but I even have a tad of both brains and beauty.

I hope my life tells a story, not of how blessed I am, but of something more. My life is fortunate and I am guessing if you're reading this, in one way or another, yours is as well.
Take a minute to thank God for the blessings in your life and when you're done, do your best to pass it on. Be a blessing to some one else.

Partnership and investment

Partnership is a great thing; in business, in life. But investment, that is where the good stuff is. When you take the time to invest in something-not with your money, but with yourself-beautiful things happen.

As a teacher, I was able to invest and pour into my students. Sometimes it was with tough love and other times it was a hug or honest conversation and advice. When you take the time to invest in some one or something, it becomes woven into your fibers.

When I was in high school myself, I remember some of the people who invested in me. My art teacher, Mrs. Yahner for one. Mrs. Y let us take over her room in the mornings before school started, tolerating at most I am sure our teenage issues and chatter. She let us eat our lunch, leave our bags and just be who we were. She invested in us in a way that made an impact. When I became a teacher in Haiti I often though of those days in the art room.

When I go home to NY I get to see Mrs. Yahner. She is a good friend of my moms and although has since retired from Marathon, she is still doing what she loves. When I was home over the summer, I suggested to her that we might partner in some way. I am so excited to be working with some one who as a teacher has taught me so much. (Her work is beautiful and you can check it out on Facebook at Frosty Morning Jewelry. If you are in Ithaca, NY at the farmers market, be sure to find her!)

I don't think I would have had the confidence in myself now as an artist if Mrs. Y had not been such an excellent teacher, both in skill, but also in many other ways.

This spring I am releasing a new "Joy" collection and many of the pieces are from Mrs. Yahner. Metal stamping, well that's a skill I learned in High School from you guessed it, Mrs. Yahner.

Next time you have a conversation with some one about your skill, or give advice or take in a mentee, know we are all our here in this together, trying to get by and have a little joy while we do it. What you do now can have a major impact on some one later.

Love well and invest in others.

Is this fair trade?

I am not a member of Fair Trade, I don't exactly know how or what that means. I do know that this week I was able to pay all my debts to the companies I work with in Haiti, totaling over 1,000 (US) which was pretty darn exciting to me. This means I get to buy more things to add to the website for you to come and purchase. That means more people are employed and earning and decent LIVING wage.

A living wage is more than survival, its more that 5$ a day, its more than not knowing where your next meal is from. Christmas is a beautiful time, there are lights and gifts and sometimes even snow. There is a baby in a manger and a reason for this season. A king who came to live and die for our sins.

But Christmas can also be a dark, difficult season. Poverty and desperation can bring out the worst in people. Thank you for supporting us so we are able to support companies in Haiti. Companies that in the the thick of the desperation. Mothers and wife's, husbands and close friends of mine who have made sacrifices of thanksgiving with families and Black Friday shopping in order to provide some one else a job. They gave up comfort to make a difference in the desperation.

But do not think they do this alone, you play a special role in this circle. Through your purchase with us (and possibly other "fair trade" organizations) you are providing a living wage, putting food on a table in a little house of a family down on a little island called Haiti. You could be paying for a school uniform, books or even tuition for a month with your purchase. But hear me, you are playing a part, you are making a difference. If all that isn't fair trade, then I'm not sure what is.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting us. Know it does not end here, but goes far beyond our doors. Happy shopping...tis the season.

*Pictures courtesy of Papillion Enterprises.